Lot # 24: 1909 Rafael Almeida “Cabanas” Cuban PSA Graded Baseball Card – First Cuban Major Leaguer

Starting Bid: $300.00

Bids: 10 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Steel17",
which ran from 2/15/2017 10:00 AM to
3/17/2017 9:00 PM

In November 1909, the Detroit Tigers, fresh off another World Series loss (their third consecutive World Series defeat), and without Cobb and Crawford, went to Cuba for a series of 12 exhibition games against the Almendares and Habana Baseball Clubs, both integrated teams of white and black players. (Maybe that is why Cobb didn't attend.)The Cuban-American Major League Clubs Series drew wide attention in Cuba, where baseball was already very popular. Demonstrating the high level of play in Cuba, the Tigers lost 8 of the 12 games to the integrated Cuban baseball teams. Cuba takes their baseball very seriously, and to them this was one of the biggest series of games they could participate in, and to win 8 of the 12 games, well that was special. To take advantage of the interest in the tour of the American baseball players, the Cabanas Company printed a series of baseball cards showing the members of the Almendares, Habana and Detroit baseball teams. The card backs are printed in Blue, with the Spanish copy translating to: "The best way to form a valuable collection of baseball cards of the Cuban and foreign players is to smoke Cabanas." The obverse feature Black & White portraits surrounded by a Blue (Almendares), Red (Habana) or Grey (Tigers) frames and name-plates. Offered is Rafael Almeida of Almendares, submitted to PSA by Lealnd's and graded PSA VG/EX 4. Almeida is recognized as the first Cuban to play in the Major Leagues when, interestingly, on July 4, 1911, Almeida suited up for the Cincinnati Reds. These are among the rarest Cuban cards in the hobby, are seldom seen and traded, with this example being one of the highest known graded examples. Including this card, as of this writing there are only four total cards in this series graded by PSA and a dozen graded by SGC, with eight Almeida examples. This is the first PSA graded example of Rafael Almeida, the first MLB player born in Cuba and an inaugural member of the Cuban baseball Hall of Fame.

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